Thanking Our Four-Legged Heroes During Service Dog Month | Pet Palace

Thanking Our Four-Legged Heroes During National Service Dog Month

National Service Dog Month

National Service Dog Month occurs every September as a celebration for the four-legged friends who help make the lives of their companions easier and keep them safe in their daily routines.

While service dogs are loving pets, they are also trained to take care of humans with ailments, disabilities, and other medical conditions. For this reason, they are deserving of a month-long celebration for all of their hard work and dedication!

The History of National Service Dog Month

Humans who are diagnosed with blindness, autism, deafness, seizures, PTSD, or other medical conditions that can interfere with their quality of life should not have to go through it alone if they don’t want to. Instead, they can rely on a well-trained service dog who will become their best friend and biggest supporter.

We have been celebrating National Service Dog Month since 2008. The concept of service dogs isn’t new, but the month became a celebration after actor Dick Van Patten helped bring attention to service dogs. He was impressed with the intelligence and training of these animals and started raising money and awareness to help cover the costs of training them. The cost to raise and train a guide dog can cost up to $40,000, and Van Patten was amazed that these dogs are supplied to humans at no charge. With his influence, he started promoting these animals in all the ways he could.

The celebrations have continued annually since National Service Dog Month was declared, over a decade ago. We can’t wait to keep the party going this September!

How to Celebrate National Service Dog Month

There are so many ways to celebrate National Service Dog Month that do not include becoming a dog trainer (unless that is of interest to you). So, if you are an owner of a service dog or want to otherwise support these amazing animals during the month of September, be sure to try some of the following activities:

  • Donate to a service dog organization – The best way to show your support for this cause is to donate to places that train the dogs! Donate to any organization you like or choose one of the more prominent ones, which includes Assistance Dogs International, Inc., Canine Partners for Life, 4 Paws for Ability, and Paws with a Cause.
  • Buy them a new toy – If you are the owner of a service dog, you can show your pup how much you appreciate them by giving them a new toy. This is also a great time to get them a new leash/harness if theirs is looking old or worn out.
  • Educate yourself and others – If you are not the owner of a service dog, try to educate yourself on the role and responsibilities of service dogs (information that is conveniently listed in this post!) It is important to remember to not pet or feed service dogs unless instructed to by their owner. While they may look cute and approachable, service dogs need to concentrate in order to provide their handler with the best care possible.

About Service Dogs

Now that you know what National Service Dog Month is and how to celebrate it, let’s talk more about service dogs by looking at their characteristics, their types, some fun facts, and more.

What are the characteristics of a service dog?

  • Strong work ethic – Most service dogs are happier when they are out on walks or helping their owner than they are napping or laying around at home
  • Composed – Another good quality of service dogs is that they are not easily distracted or disturbed by their surroundings
  • Intelligence – The best service dogs are the ones that learn quickly, making the training process easy and the process of helping their owner even easier
  • Comfort – Your service dog must be comfortable in all environments and with all people in order to focus on their job
  • Loyalty – Service dogs form a strong bond with their owner and are loyal to them regardless of the situation
  • Intuitive – While service dogs are trained well, they need to be able to guide their owner in all situations, including ones that might be unexpected

What breeds are typically used as service dogs?

It is common to see service dogs when you are out in the park or enjoying a day out in your city. Have you noticed a pattern in the types of dogs that you usually see wearing the harness? This is because there are certain breeds that carry the characteristics we listed above better than others. This is not to discriminate against the other breeds of dogs, it is just to acknowledge that some pups are more suited for the lifestyle than others!

The following breeds are commonly seen in the role:

  • Labradors
  • German Shepherds
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Poodles
  • Boxers
  • Great Danes
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs
  • Pomeranians

What are the types of service dogs?

Service dogs are trained to detect any problems and protect their owners from them. From handling severe allergies to blindness, service dogs are trained for a variety of afflictions and to keep their owners out of the way of danger. Here are different types of service dogs and brief descriptions of how they help humankind:

  • Allergy service dogs can be specifically trained to detect the odor of allergens like peanuts, gluten, and eggs
  • Autism service dogs are the perfect furry friend to help those who have difficulty navigating social settings, keeping their emotions at bay while supporting their communication skills
  • Diabetic service dogs alert their companions when they detect hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia, encouraging them to test their blood and use insulin if needed
  • Guide dogs are service dogs you perhaps see most often, and they help the blind and vision impaired to safely navigate the world
  • Hearing service dogs help members of the deaf or hard of hearing community by alerting their owners when they hear certain noises like fire alarms, doorbells, knocking, phones, alarm clocks, and more
  • Mobility assistance dogs help people with spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and more by retrieving objects, opening doors, turning on lights, and more
  • Psychiatric service dogs are trained to assist people with depression, anxiety, or PTSD when they experience anxiety or flashbacks and are in need of support
  • Seizure alert dogs assist before, during, and after a seizure by getting assistance from others, helping their owner regain consciousness, using pressure to end the seizure, and bringing medicine

What are some fun facts about service dogs?

  • There are approximately 500,000 service dogs in America
  • It takes roughly 18-24 months to train a service dog
  • Service dogs wear a harness or vest that identifies their role
  • These animals are recognized by the ADA, which means they are allowed in most public places and have extra rights that your average house dog might not have
  • 50% to 70% of dogs in training do not successfully become registered service dogs
  • Service dogs and therapy animals do not fall into the same category
  • Certain service dogs have the ability to open doors or even pull wheelchairs
  • After service dogs reach a certain age or can no longer perform their abilities, they are retired and adopted by their handlers or placed into a different loving home

As you can see, service dogs really are heroes, and we can’t wait to celebrate them during the month of September!

Allow Us to Pamper Your Service Dog

Remember, if your service dog is in need of grooming or doggy daycare, Pet Palace is here to help. In fact, a great way to celebrate National Service Dog Month is by getting them an appointment for a luxury grooming appointment! We have a variety of packages available that range from a simple trim and breath freshening to a doggy manicure!

Additionally, we offer daycare and overnight boarding for the nights that you can’t be with your service animal. Regardless of your dogs’ needs, we are here to help pamper and support them.

Dear Pups, Have a Happy National Service Dog Month!

If you have a service dog, make sure you thank them for always having your back year-round. However, when September rolls around, be sure to celebrate them a little extra!

Happy National Service Dog Month to all of our furry friends out there!

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Lora Shaw

About the author

Lora Shaw

Lora Shaw is currently the Vice President of Operations at Pet Palace.

Categories: Community Involvement, Dogs, News/Events